Program Standards

Students accepted to the Physical Therapy Program must adhere to the standards and policies set forth by the University, the Physical Therapy Program, and the profession throughout their academic tenure. Students must comply with the Program standards by attaining an overall 3.0 grade point average (GPA) throughout the Program, while attaining no course grades below the grade of B-. Passing requires the letter grade of C or better in all course work as well as a grade of B or better in all clinical lab practical exams is required. Absence for more than one class session (usually equivalent to 1/8 of the total contact hours) in any professional course will result in a failing grade.

A failure of a course is unacceptable, and may result in dismissal from the program. If a student is dismissed from the program, the Committee on Admissions and Academic Performance determines: 1) if s/he may be reinstated into the program following the appeal process, and 2) if s/he returns to the program, recommends the logical point for the student to enroll in the Professional Sequence that directly addresses the learning issue. A student is subject to dismissal from the program if unable to maintain these standards.

If a student’s overall GPA falls below 3.0 or receives a grade below a B-, the student is immediately placed on academic probation. The remediation during academic probation consists of an Action Plan, mutually established by the student and faculty and/or Program Director, to identify the concerns, pertinent strategies with a timeline, and the expectations of the student and faculty. A student on academic probation must be in good academic standing by the end of the two subsequent trimesters. If the student is unable to attain good academic standing by the end of the two subsequent trimesters, the substandard GPA warrants dismissal. The student has the option to appeal the dismissal. Should an individual complete only the first two trimesters of the articulated Biology/Physical Therapy professional sequence, the student earns a Bachelor of Arts in Biology (Pre-Med track) at the end of the second trimester, contingent upon successful completion of the required courses for the Bachelor’s degree.

To ensure a quality educational experience, all students are expected to complete their academic work in an ethical manner, and to maintain the professional standards as outlined by the APTA Code of Ethics, The APTA Standard of Practice, and Guide for Professional Conduct. (See the APTA Guide to Physical Therapy Practice.) A serious breach of ethical and professional behaviors is cause for disciplinary action up to, and including, course failure or dismissal from the Program.

In addition, all DPT students are responsible to abide by the Dominican University Student Code of Conduct. Refer to the Dominican University Student Handbook.

Grading Criteria

The evaluation of student achievement in each course is the responsibility of the teaching faculty. Guidelines have been developed by Dominican University describing the quality of performance expected for the various grading categories. Achievement in a course isbased on the concrete evidence of the level of mastery demonstrated by the student on formal examinations, participation in class sessions, independent components or other written assignments, written and oral quizzes, and other means of assessment used by instructors. Each faculty member may have a different method of computing grades, and specific methods will be outlined by the course instructor at the beginning of the course and documented in the course syllabus.

The Physical Therapy Program uses the following uniform grading scale:

Quality Points
Numerical Scale
Very Good
below 73
Unofficial Withdrawal
Withdrawal without penalty

Students must comply with the Program standards by attaining grades of at least C or better, and a passing grade in the independent component required in each course. Any course grade below a C warrants failure. A failure of a course is unacceptable, and the student must retake course and earn a passing grade to continue in the Program. A student is permitted to retake one course (which includes the affiliation) throughout the PT curriculum; however, the option of retaking a course is offered only after a careful review of a student’s complete academic history by the PT faculty and/or the Admissions and Academic Performance Committee. It is not an option automatically offered. The Physical Therapy professional courses must be taken in the sequence outlined in the Professional Sequence of the subsequent enrolled class. A student is subject to dismissal from the program if unable to maintain these standards.

Essential Functions

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has not adopted any policies or positions regarding essential skills, functions or technical standards necessary to perform as a physical therapist. Therefore, individual programs have created their own set of “essential functions” and technical standards needed to complete the physical therapy curricula in order to competently perform physical therapy duties post-graduation. At Dominican University, the functions are presented in five sections: 1) Sensory Ability 2)  Communication Ability, 3) Motor Ability 4)  Intellectual-Conceptual Ability and 5)  Behavioral/Social/ Professional Attributes. You can download and review the full document by clicking here.